Starring: Yang Zishan, Gua Ah-leh, Lu Han
Director: Leste Chen
Running Time: 131 mins
Miss Granny is a Chinese film about a 70 year old woman who, after realising she is a burden to her own family, finds herself magically transformed back to being a 20 year old, leaving her to set about reliving the glory days of her youth.
This is a fun little film, with a really pleasantly light-hearted atmosphere combined with the feel of a good old fable. It’s bright and cheery throughout, and with some very energetic performances across the board, it’s the sort of film that will make you feel warm inside. However, it’s still not the world’s most riveting watch, nor the most hilarious, and at nearly two and a quarter hours, it often feels like a real drag, failing to keep you fully enthralled from start to finish.
But let’s start on the bright side, with the simple fact that Miss Granny is a nice, cheery film. Its vibrant and colourful cinematography means that it always feels optimistic and fun, and combined with its light-hearted fantasy tale and a couple of cute musical interludes here and there, it’s the perfect sort of film to put a simple smile on your face.
And that’s a big deal, because without being so pleasant and chirpy, this film would have been a little lost. However, it’s happy and fun enough throughout to keep you pleasantly entertained on a fairly consistent basis.
But it’s not just the bright colours and nice songs that make the film so pleasant, because a lot of the performances are pretty entertaining as well. Early on, Gua Ah-leh, who plays the 70 year old woman, is really sprightly at every moment, and although she isn’t playing the world’s most likable character, it’s her energetic performance in the film’s opening act that gets you quickly interested in her character’s story, and she leaves a lasting impact on the remainder of the movie.
Then when the transformation happens, our character is played by Yang Zishan, who puts on the same level of boisterousness as her older counterpart, meaning that the continuation of the same character in a different body is as convincing as can be. However, Yang also adds an extra level of cheesy cuteness to the character, something that goes a long way to making some of the film’s best comedy more enjoyable, because there are a whole heap of gags reliant on reversing your expectations of the cute little princess that Yang is meant to be playing.
However, while the performances, visuals, story premise and odd songs all go a long way towards a very pleasant watch here, I still can’t say that I found Miss Granny a hugely entertaining film. Nice it may be, but it misses the mark when it comes to delivering bigger laughs and more consistent humour, occasionally getting more bogged down in the fantasy side of the story that doesn’t often need all that much more development.
What’s more, at 131 minutes long, it’s a pretty hefty watch for something so lightweight. Normally, the words ‘nice’, ‘cute’ and ‘pleasant’ are pegged to films ranging from 60 to about 100 minutes, and it just feels like this film overstepped the mark a little bit when it comes to the runtime. If it were a bit shorter and more concise, it would have felt just that little bit cuter, and could have added heaps and bounds to the overall enjoyment value of the film, whereas it actually gets a little bogged down at times, and isn’t 100% entertaining 100% of the time.
Overall, however, I had a nice time with Miss Granny. It’s definitely way too long, and it’s far from the world’s greatest comedy, but there’s still a lot to enjoy, and its light-hearted, bright and cheery vibes throughout are enough to provide some fun throughout, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2.